All over the world, no matter what the cultural or language differences, science is more or less guided by scientific principles—except in many Islamic countries, where it is guided by the Koran. This is the ultimate story about science and religion.
Science can be a dismal study for some people. Some people are satisfied with what is, but many want to know what it means. Teleology describes that purpose, but it is the ultimate enemy of science. It assumes there is a purpose and design for creations and there is a final cause. Religions do so through divinities, but many “secularists” like Marxists create own teleologies.
Science follows the antique notion that we need to look at facts before understanding the function of an object or system. Teleology assumes it knows the answer before looking at the evidence.
A minor benefit of Christianity was the pre-Christian Stoic belief in the Logos. Logos is the Reason and the Laws that govern the universe. Everything operates because of the Logos. This is metaphysical, but it was a useful metaphor for early scientists. Taken to its purest level, Logos only operates through natural laws and there is nothing supernatural. We can study these laws and understand them. Outsiders may even view Christianity and Atheism as two peas of the pod – both are Logos worshippers.
At some point, Science had to move past Logos to reach its full potential. Scientists often use mechanism to describe classical physics and biology for instance, which is a similar but more abstract metaphor. It allows us to take our small body of knowledge and extend it to a large number of similar sets.
Islam does not do this.
“This tendency to use their knowledge of science to ‘prove’ that the religious interpretations of life are correct is really corrupting,” he tells me. Soltan, who got his doctorate at the University of Northern Illinois, works in a small office that’s pungent with tobacco smoke; journals and newspapers lie stacked on his desk and floor. “Their methodology is bad,” he says. Soltan explains that Islamic scientists start with a conclusion (the Koran says the body has 360 joints) and then work toward proving that conclusion. To reach the necessary answer they will, in this instance, count things that some orthopedists might not call a joint. “They’re sure about everything, about how the universe was created, who created it, and they just need to control nature rather than interpret it,” Soltan adds. “But the driving force behind any scientific pursuit is that the truth is still out there.”
And there is the real conflict. If you ask a scientists what the world is like, he should say “I don’t know, let’s study it.” The Muslim sees the truth in a work of art, the Koran, and is free to ignore reality.
Reality, however, prevents them from creating great medicine or building complex machines with moving parts.
What about, say, evolutionary biology or Darwinism? I ask. (Evolution is taught in Egyptian schools, although it is banned in Saudi Arabia and Sudan.) “If you are asking if Adam came from a monkey, no,” Badawy responds. “Man did not come from a monkey. If I am religious, if I agree with Islam, then I have to respect all of the ideas of Islam. And one of these ideas is the creation of the human from Adam and Eve. If I am a scientist, I have to believe that.”
But from the point of view of a scientist, is it not just a story? I ask. He tells me that if I were writing an article saying that Adam and Eve is a big lie, it will not be accepted until I can prove it.
“Nobody can just write what he thinks without proof. But we have real proof that the story of Adam as the first man is true.”
He looks at me with disbelief: “It’s written in the Koran.”
The Koran is the absolute word of God.